13 Chic, Easy Hairstyles for Short Hair

Speaking as someone who is currently growing out a pixie cut (I’m somewhere between a shaggy mullet and a lob right now in case you’re wondering), I am constantly on the lookout for cute styles to try while I weather this awkward transition. Lucky for me (and all of my fellow short-haired ladies), there are some highly stylish women who have walked this path before us. (Think: JLaw and Emma Watson, and our favorite Gen Z’er, Millie Bobby Brown.) So without further ado, I present 13 chic, easy hairstyles for short hair.

Nervous About Getting a Pixie Cut? This May Help Ease Your Fears

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1. Exposed Bobby Pins

In case you forgot, Jennifer Lawrence rocked a pixie, bob and lob for several years following her Oscar win for “Silver Linings Playbook” in 2012. Here she is showcasing what a few messy twists and a whole lot of bobby pins can do—at a Dior show in Paris, no less.

And as anyone who has ever grown out a short cut knows, there are a lot of uneven strands that don’t stay neatly in a regular bun or ponytail. Take a cue from J. Law here and use pins to secure all the odd bits and bobs in place.

Your tool kit: Conair bobby pins ($2); Ouai texturizing spray ($12)

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2. Smoothed Low Bun

For a more polished look, create a side-part and slick the lengths of your hair back into a low bun that sits at the nape of your neck. Finish the look by smoothing down any frizz with a light misting of hair spray and, again, use pins wherever you need to tuck in any shorter bits. Only this time, we suggest using a U-shaped pin, rather than a standard bobby because it secures larger sections of hair (and bonus points if it closely matches your natural color for a near-undetectable disguise).

Your tool kit: Wenobby U-shaped hair pins ($9); Aveda Air Control hairspray ($9)

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3. Half-up Style

Another option is to rock a half-up style. Starting just above your ears, gather the top half of your hair into a ponytail and secure with a small elastic. The trick to making sure the look is more modern than matronly is to keep a slightly wavy texture throughout (courtesy of a flat iron, which you can use to make bends in the hair) and some volume at the crown. Option to pull out one face-framing piece like Jennifer here. 

Your tool kit: ElasticU small hair elastics ($7); Virtue texturizing spray ($36); T3 SinglePass Luxe 1’’ flat iron ($180)

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4. Braided Crown

We think it’s safe to say that this braided ‘do is definitely Katniss Everdeen approved. Jenny Cho, who is Lawrence’s longtime stylist, created this look by gathering her hair into a deep side part and loosely French braiding one side, and then the other, before twisting both sections into a low knot at the nape of her neck. Tuck the ends in using bobby pins and use your fingers to break up the braids a bit. As for the glint of gold? That’s a piece of jewelry (a thin gold chain, to be precise) weaved directly into the braid.

Your tool kit: Conair bobby pins ($2); Alterna Caviar multiplying volume styling mousse ($30)

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5. Sleek Slick Back

Next up: Our forever style icon, Ms. Hermione Granger herself, Emma Watson. She famously chopped her hair into a pixie upon completing the Harry Potter films. Since then, she’s shown us time and time again just how classy and cool short hair can be.

One of our all-time favorite looks on her also happens to be one of the easiest to recreate: a sleek and simple slicked back style. The trick to getting this look right lies in the timing. Apply a flexible hold gel or styling cream to damp strands and rake it all back using a wide-toothed comb or your fingers. As it dries, it will set into place. Tuck the rest of your hair behind your ears.

Your tool kit: R+Co Motorcycle flexible gel ($28); Mason Pearson rake comb ($37); Leonor Greyl Eclat Naturel styling cream ($46)

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6. Braided Updo

At the UK premiere of Beauty and the Beast, Emma stepped out as the literal Belle of the ball with her elegantly braided updo and muted off-the-shoulder number. Her stylist, Jenny Harling, (who—fun fact—was a hairstylist and colorist on the Harry Potter films) created a double-braided crown around Emma’s head so that nary a hair was in the way as she walked down the red carpet. Future brides: Pin this one to your inspiration board, stat. 

Your tool kit: Wenobby U-shaped hair pins ($9); R+Co High Dive moisture + shine cream ($29)

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7. Retro Curls

Anyone who watched the red carpets last year knows that Lucy Boynton is definitely one to keep an eye on. The British beauty constantly takes chances with her signature blonde bob and makeup at every event. Here she is wearing glamorous retro curls with the ends curled under. The deep side part and slightly asymmetrical length adds an element of cool. Tip: Smooth on some shine serum or oil through the lengths for added polish. 

Your tool kit: Hot Tools 1.25 inch spring iron ($49); British M Organics Annatto hair oil ($67)

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8. High-fashion Pigtails

At the British Academy Film Awards last year, Lucy stepped out with what can only be described as high-fashion pigtails. Get the look at home by parting your hair down the center and gathering it into two low ponytails on either side of your head. Secure both tails in place with a sleek black barrette (and if you have thick or curly hair, wrap a hair tie around each section first and place the barrette on top for better hold). 

Your tool kit: Caraven small gallia bar black barrette ($6); Goody Ouchless elastic hair tie ($7)

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9. Third-up Style

Another day, another half-up style. Like J. Law’s look above, Lucy kept a slight bend in her strands and volume on top. The biggest difference (apart from the chic velvet bow) is that the section of hair that’s pulled back starts higher up. It’s a good move for someone who has a cut that falls above the shoulders or hair that’s on the finer side, as it gives the illusion of more volume overall. 

Your tool kit: ElasticU small hair elastics ($7); Virtue texturizing spray ($36); T3 SinglePass Luxe 1’’ flat iron ($180)

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10. Punk Rock Twists

And last but not least, rounding out our cast of leading ladies, we have Millie Bobby Brown (or MBB for short). Since her famous buzz cut for her equally famous role in “Stranger Things,” Millie has become our go-to for short-hair inspiration. Case in point: This funky updo she recently wore to the premier of Godzilla earlier this year.

According to Adir Abergel, the mastermind behind this look, the inspiration was ‘80s punk bands. To that end, Abergel wrapped thin gold thread from root to tip on small sections around the perimeter of Millie’s head before pulling everything back into a high ponytail and weaving it into a messy bun on top.

Your tool kit: Goody Ouchless elastic hair tie ($7); Morex stretch cord polyester ribbon ($12); Virtue Volumizing Primer ($36)

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11. Braided Ballerina Bun

At first glance, this is just another sleek ballerina bun. Upon closer inspection, there’s a tightly wound braid that’s running along the underside of MBB’s head (which also serves as a genius way to hold smaller, uneven strands in place). Finish with a generous misting of hairspray and ponder how old is too old to rock an ear cuff.

Your tool kit: ElasticU small hair elastics ($7); Moroccanoil Luminous hair spray ($24)

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12. Space Buns

Are space buns appropriate for work? Depends on the office. Are space buns appropriate for brunch, pilates or running errands? Ab-so-freaking-lutely. In a world full of top knots and ponytails, dare to wear space buns, we say. You can even class them up with some silk ribbons.

Your tool kit: ElasticU small hair elastics ($7); LaRibbons 1 inch wide satin ribbon (49); Moroccanoil Luminous hair spray ($24)

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13. Bedazzled Bun

Low bun, meet jeweled accessories—also known as, a short-haired gal’s best friend. In fact, there is no quicker way to dress up an everyday bun or regular ol’ pony than a bedazzled comb or gilded pin. Pair with slicked back strands on the top and sides and no one would ever know that you woke up with a bad case of bed head (a common affliction for those of us who are in the midst of growing out our hair). 

Your tool kit: Vanessa hair pins ($95); Deepa Gurnani Gretchine comb ($98); Jennifer Behn Fete bobby pins set ($162)

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Beauty Director

Jenny Jin is PureWow’s Beauty Director and is currently based in Los Angeles. Since beginning her journalism career at Real Simple magazine, she has become a human encyclopedia of...